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Ukrainian Who Led Volunteer Battalion Detained At Greek Border

A Ukrainian who founded and led a volunteer battalion in eastern Ukraine has been detained by Greek authorities while crossing over from Bulgaria on March 2 with his pregnant wife and 9-year-old child.

Serhiy Melnychuk, 48, posted a video on Facebook from the alleged detention center in Greece, saying that his arrest was based on a notice requested from Russia through Interpol, the world’s international police force.

A search through Interpol didn’t reveal Melnychuk’s name as a wanted person but not all notices are made public.

In early 2014, Melnychuk established and led the Aidar Battalion, which was comprised mostly of natives of the easternmost Luhansk region.

Aidar fought Russian-backed separatists that year and took part in liberating towns and cities in the industrial region.

Before it was incorporated into the armed forces in September 2014, Melnychuk and the battalion he led faced allegations of human rights abuses, looting, and marauding in the early phases of the war in which more than 13,000 people have been killed.

He was voted into parliament in 2014 with the Radical Party, then headed by Oleh Lyashko, whose political movement has no seats in the current legislature.

Melnychuk is from Ukraine's west-central region of Vinnytsya and said in his Facebook post that he was detained for unknown reasons.

Based on reporting by Hromadske and Ukrayinska Pravda